Sunday 26 May, 2019

Photos: JEP, WKPP engage blind society to Read Across Jamaica

Damion Rose, Ayoki Sargeant and Jamie Lloyd all blind, used braille to read three different age-appropriate books to students of North Street Primary and Old Harbour Primary.

Damion Rose, Ayoki Sargeant and Jamie Lloyd all blind, used braille to read three different age-appropriate books to students of North Street Primary and Old Harbour Primary.

Jamaica Energy Partners and West Kingston Power Partners included three blind persons in the Read Across Jamaica activities at the North Street Primary School in Kingston and the Old Harbour Bay Primary in St Catherine.

The group’s involvement was appreciated and cheered by the students of both schools on Tuesday, with the energy companies donating reading materials to both schools.

Visually impaired Damion Rose, Ayoki Sargeant and Jamie Lloyd used braille to read three different age-appropriate books to the children.

Visually impaired Damion Rose reads to students. (Photo: Marlon Reid)

The youngsters clapped and laughed at interesting intervals in the reading and cheered loudly on the completion of each story. They also used the opportunity to inquire from the three, how they live and do day-to-day activities. 

According to Melissa Newman, community and public relations specialist at Jamaica Energy Partners and West Kingston Power Partners, the initiative was part of the process of trying to have a more inclusive Jamaica.

Newman said, "this year we decided to do it a bit different by including the Jamaica Society For The Blind. Jamaica Energy Partners and West Kingston Power Partners are very inclusive companies and of such we want to ensure that all aspects of society are represented."

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"So we used this opportunity to invite members of the Jamaica Society for the Blind to come and read for the children and for the children to understand that despite them being blind, they can still contribute to society," she said.

Newman said that the process included members of both companies being given crash sensitisation courses from Jamaica Society For The Blind on how to lead and guide blind individuals.

Principal of North Street Primary, Cecele Smythe believes the interaction was an inspiration for the children.

“It was a good experience. It exposes our children to others and let them realise that education and literacy are important. We have seen persons from the working environment come in to read to them and especially for the visually impaired, it helps the children to realise how important reading is,” Smythe said.

JEP/Blind Society Read Across JA at North Street Primary

Click the slider for highlights at the stop at North Street Primary by Marlon Reid

Rose, Sargeant and Lloyd all agreed it was a pleasure reading for the children, with the trip also allowing them to get away from usual things that they did on a daily basis.

“It is always good to come out and to interact with the students. As persons with a disability, especially, being blind, when we come into these settings, the kids learn a lot because they always have a lot of questions and it is just a way for us to meet with them and express how we do things and learn from them also,” Rose said.

Lloyd said, "I do love reading and to read to the children was a wonderful experience and I am glad I was able to do that. I am also glad that they asked questions because I love helping and I love teaching without actually being a teacher.”

These grade six students at North Street Primary listen keenly to a story read by a trio from the Jamaica Society for the Blind on Read Across Jamaica Day.  (Photo: Marlon Reid).

North Street Primary student Oneil Simpson was happy for the interaction. He said, "I learned a little about blind people and that they use braille to form out the words that they are reading. So I think that's kind of cool. I love the interactions and it was a wonderful experience."

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